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Dog Lake

Yosemite National Park

September 15th, 2006

2.8 miles
650 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:45

Rating: 8/10

Directions: From the western side of Yosemite, take Tioga Road east to the Lembert Dome trailhead, just past the Tuolumne Meadows campground.   View Driving Map

There are actually two trailheads you can use for Dog Lake. The most obvious is the Lembert Dome trailhead. There's also apparently a trailhead for Dog Lake further along Tioga Road, near the other end of Lembert Dome. Looks to be similar. However, since we were staying at the Tuolumne Meadows campground, we just walked from our campsite, crossed the road, and started at the Lembert Dome trailhead.

With 4 adults toting 4 kids (aged 1-4) on our backs, we started off on the trail around noon. It was a bright sunny mid-September day, but it was cold. Cold gusty winds spun up dirt into our faces every so often. The temperature probably stayed in the 40's all day, and it was 41 degrees at 5pm later that day. Brrr...

The trail starts off the same as the Lembert Dome trail. We shortly passed through a meadow with views of Cathedral and Unicorn Peaks to the left. The rest of the trail is open conifer forest, steadily uphill with no views to speak of. After about a mile, we reached a trail intersection. To the right is the trail up to the top of Lembert Dome. We took the left fork, which began to level off a bit.

After another tenth of a mile, there was another trail intersection. The trail to the left heads up to Young Lakes. We took the right fork, which shortly descends to Dog Lake, set at about 9200 feet elevation. Mount Dana and Gibbs frame the view looking east from the lake. Trees line the lake, but with several nice spots to sit down for a picnic lunch or just to admire the view. We walked around the left side and settled down on a small peninsula. Unfortunately the gusty winds were bitterly cold, and I resorted to putting on my balaclava -- one item I always bring on hikes since it's so small and light, and I almost never use, but I'm glad to have when it gets cold. After lunch, we walked further along the shore to a warmer, sunny spot.

Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs behind Dog Lake

Dog Lake

Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs behind Dog Lake

Despite it being a short hike, and seeing several groups of hikers along the trail, the lake is large enough that we spent most of our time there without any company. The kids ran around, throwing rocks into the water. This is a great hike for kids if you're staying at the campground, since it's so close. It's not too difficult, and the lake is a great place to spend an hour or two (which we did). After spending quite some time relaxing at the lake, we headed back on the trail we'd come up. It's almost all downhill, and we were back at the trailhead in no time.

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